We’ve both got it, our friends have had it so chances are that you’ve got it too. In fact, we know you do because you’ve told us. It’s one of your biggest beauty problems. So I thought that today I’d cover post-pregnancy hair loss/shedding/thinning/whatever you want to call it, de-bunking some myths and giving you some real solutions….
Does my hair really grow faster when I’m pregnant?
Yes. Raised oestrogen levels prolong the ‘anagen’ or ‘growth’ phase of your hair. You also retain more hairs too (usually we shed 50-100 hairs a day but in the second trimester this drops significantly) which is why your hair feels thicker too. But it isn’t just the length and thickness of your hair that changes while you’re pregnant, the texture may change too. My hair felt so dry during my pregnancy. This is because androgens, which cause the hair follicle to produce sebum (the oily substance that prevents hair and skin from drying out) deplete. I tackled this l by using a hydrating hair mask once a week(this is my fave)and applying Moroccan Oil Lightbefore blow drying.
But post-pregnancy hair is a different story…
A recent study revealed that 75% of new mothers noticed their hair thinning after giving birth, leaving it feeling much finer. I lost a lot of hair around my temples which means that when I now pull my hair into a ponytail short, sprouty bits stick up in a really annoying way. Gemma didn’t notice anything until she stopped breastfeeding a few months ago and suddenly woke up one day with random ‘sprouts’ all around her hairline. Which was perfect timing as it also coincided with her first period in almost two years. This, combined with random hair loss obviously made her feel great. NOT.
Whyyyyy does this happen?
Dr Susan Mayou, Consultant Dermatologist at London’s Cadogan Clinic tells me, “Hair loss is common 6-12 weeks post-birth. This is because heightened oestrogen levels drop back to normal and the hairs that have been in that prolonged ‘anagen’ growth phase move straight into the shedding phase.”
In plain English, this means that all of the hairs you didn’t shed during pregnancy suddenly jump ship. All at once. Unfortunately this coincides with that huge hormonal surge post-delivery or when you stop breastfeeding. Basically when you’re feeling your shittest then. Great.
So what do I do?
In most cases it settles down after a couple of months but certain factors mean it can continue for longer; poor diet, nutritional deficiencies and stress – ALL of which come with the responsibility of looking after a baby. To encourage new growth, feed your hair with a diet rich in protein and iron (red meat, fish and dark, leafy veg) Supplements rich in vitamins and minerals provide additional nutrients to produce hair cells. I’ve seen a great improvement in my hairs fullness since taking
supplements which are packed with high levels of zinc and biotic to nourish hair follicles and encourage growth.
REMEMBER: Post-pregnancy hair shedding is completely normal. Your hair will feel thinner because the hairs that didn’t shed during pregnancy have fallen out. Nothing can prevent it but it is only temporary.* It should stop on its own and all lost hairs will grow back.
SOLUTIONS YOU CAN TRY WHILE YOU ARE WAITING FOR IT TO GROW BACK….
*Use a volumising shampoo: These contain proteins that coat the hair making it appear fuller. Mild shampoos and conditioners also decrease irritation to the scalp allowing healthy hair to grow through. I love Rahua Volumising Shampoo (I swear this chemical-free shampoo made my hair grow super-fast when I trialled it a few years ago) and the sulphate-free Pureology range. Yes, they may be pricier than your regular shampoo but think of it this way: you wouldn’t shove your favourite delicate cashmere jumper in the washing machine with any old detergent would you? While your hair is this fragile and delicate, treat it well.
*Your scalp is the gateway to healthy hair: Treat it well and watch it sprout the hair of your dreams. Daily dose of stimulating scalp drops (try Philip Kingsley Tricho 7) helps get it into peak condition to support the growth of healthy new hairs. I also really rate Grow Gorgeous Hair Growth Serum Intense which stimulates healthy hair growth. Use half a pipette daily.
*Avoid over-using your hair straighteners: The downward motion drags on the delicate, fine hairs.
*If it continues past three months, see your GP. There is always the chance that severe hair loss could indicate something more serious such as an iron deficiency, thyroid problem or diabetes.